RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The value from years of postseason lessons showed up in a desperate time for the Carolina Hurricanes as they turned a big deficit into a memorable comeback after long stretches of downright dominant play.

It was a sign of how the Hurricanes’ veteran experience — a veteran core in the NHL playoffs for the sixth straight year mixed with past-year additions who have raised the Stanley Cup elsewhere — is just as vital as all the talent and depth in that locker room. And that’s particularly true after Monday’s 5-3 win against the New York Islanders, turning a three-goal deficit into a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series with the kind of win that etches itself in franchise lore for years to come.

“You do need to take time to reflect on those things because they’re special, right?” coach Rod Brind’Amour said Tuesday. “How often do you see a game like that with the stakes and everything that they are? But it’s hard because we’re always moving on to the next thing.”

That next thing is trying to avoid letting the Islanders catch momentum as the series shifts north for Game 3 on Thursday.

The Hurricanes entered the postseason as the favorite to win the Cup, according to BetMGM Sportsbook. Yet after grinding to a tough Game 1 win, the Hurricanes found themselves down 3-0 early in the second period after the Islanders went from failing to get a shot on Frederik Andersen for the first 13-plus minutes to beating him thrice in roughly eight minutes.

Yet the Hurricanes didn’t wither. They attacked. They spent long stretches in the second period tilting the ice toward Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov, erasing outlets and controlling the puck in the offensive zone. They stayed composed after ringing the post multiple times without reward, as well as losing veteran defenseman Brett Pesce to a lower-body injury in the second period.

“It’s the playoffs, it’s not easy, every game is going to be hard,” Carolina captain Jordan Staal said afterward. “There’s going to be frustration. You’ve got to try to eat it. I thought we did a great job of sticking with what we needed to do.”

The payoff came in shocking fashion, first with Sebastian Aho’s post putaway with the extra attacker to tie it with 2:15 left. Then Jordan Martinook skated down an Islanders giveaway on the ensuing faceoff to score on a wraparound for a 4-3 lead just 9 seconds later — the fastest two-goal sequence in franchise postseason history — to send the home crowd still buzzing about Aho’s score into roof-rattling euphoria.

Jake Guentzel added an empty-net clincher against an Islanders franchise that previously was 81-0 when leading by three or more goals in the playoffs.

Afterward, Staal struggled to find the right words. Martinook said he was way too amped to sleep. Even the matter-of-fact Brind’Amour knew it was “a special night.”

Third-year forward Seth Jarvis credited Carolina’s veterans for ensuring the Hurricanes maintained composure. That includes multi-year teammates like Martinook, an alternate captain who is a key part of Carolina’s aggressive forecheck. But there are also veterans who won a Cup elsewhere in last summer’s defenseman signee Dmitry Orlov (Washington in 2018), or trade-deadline acquisitions Jake Guentzel (Pittsburgh in 2017) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (Capitals in 2018).

“We have guys like Marty, I think Kuzy was huge for us, just talking all night, keeping us calm and composed,” said Jarvis, who banged in the third-period goal that brought Carolina to within 3-2. “Just older guys that don’t let us get too flustered. You can go off the deep end a little bit, but I think they did a really good job of just keeping everyone in it, keeping everyone composed, focusing on the moment.”

Carolina finished with a 39-12 shot advantage, including 17-1 in the final period. Going deeper, the Hurricanes had a 110-28 edge in shot attempts to illustrate how dominant those sustained stretches in the offensive zone really were.

“I thought we were doing a good job of staying composed but we weren’t able to end their plays,” defenseman Ryan Pulock said Tuesday. “As that goes on and on, things happen to where (there’s) a broken stick and then we’re short, or take a penalty. And that momentum kind of carries on for them.”

It marked only the third three-goal comeback for the former Hartford Whalers franchise in the postseason, the last coming in Game 1 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final against Edmonton. That winner came in abruptly familiar fashion, with Oilers goaltender Ty Conklin misplaying the puck behind the net and Brind’Amour — the captain on that Cup winner — scoring on a winning wraparound with 31.1 seconds left.

“You take a little time to enjoy it and then obviously we’ve got to figure out how to do it again,” Brind’Amour said, adding: “You’ve created a pretty special moment for a lot of people last night.”


AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl